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I was working with a new client recently and I sat in on the interview of a experienced (five years) recruiter. The interview was a mixed bag. The recruiter assessed the candidate reasonably accurately but there were some areas around the candidate’s reasons for leaving that were not adequately probed. After the interview had concluded I asked the recruiter why he had missed those areas. His reason was, basically, that he forgot.

Later on that same day a temp consultant under-quoted a client on an hourly rate because she was working under pressure with her calculator rather than referring to a rate sheet.

Unfortunately these sorts of errors are all too common in the fast paced world of agency recruitment. They are errors that can be easily rectified.

Templates, checklists or cheat sheets, call them what you like, they all have an important role to play in a recruiter maximizing their productivity each day. Each piece of missing information that needs to be sought out later is additional time that has to be invested by the recruiter, reducing both productivity and the credibility of the recruiter in the eyes of clients, candidates and colleagues.

I was trained in an environment awash with templates, check lists and cheat sheets and all the recruiters in the company, regardless of their experience, used them. They were consistently used because they demonstrably improved every person’s results.

Examples being:

  1. Interview templates, including for example, a box for every element of a candidate’s salary package (eg cash, super, parking, phone, car etc), the exact wording of each behavioural interview question to be asked and specifics of interview time availability.
  2. Prospect visit templates, including colour coded boxes that had to be completed prior to the visit to ensure a high level of preparedness.
  3. Lead generation checklists, covering all the various ways leads can be generated each day/week by a consultant (eg. Canvassing job boards, reference check marketing, LinkedIn connection etc).
  4. Day planners, setting out the basic structure of each day and/or week, including allocated times for interviews, marketing, candidate care calls etc.
  5. Job order templates, setting out all the information that needs be gathered about both the job itself (skills, competencies, motivation etc) as well as the assignment filling process (how many interviews? With whom? Where? When? Exclusive or in competition? Process undertaken so far? etc).
  6. Rate sheets (temps), listing the pay rate to the temp, on costs, net margin and charge rate to the client for all levels of the various jobs that the temp team would typically fill.
  7. Fees (perms), listing the salary ranges that apply to each fee (% or fixed) jobs, the guarantee for each fee and the payment terms.
  8. Client objection handling cheat sheets, listing all the typical objections heard in a typical day of prospecting (eg we don’t use agencies, we have a PSA, we don’t pay more than 10% fees, etc) and a number of potential responses to each of these objections.
  9. Candidate objection handling cheat sheets, listing all the typical reasons why a candidate may not be interested in a job (eg salary too low, don’t like that industry, I’ve heard bad things about that company etc) and how those reason could be respectfully explored and rebutted.
  10. Resignation letter template that can be provided to a candidate so they can ensure they have all the necessary elements covered in their written resignation before they have the resignation conversation.
  11. Resignation and counter offer cheat sheet, covering all the questions to ask a candidate to have them fully prepared to resign and equipped to effectively handle any counter offer that may occur as a result of their resignation.
  12. Temp working checklist, listing all the things that a temp starting an assignment would need to be advised of (eg timesheet submission, pay day, hours of work, superannuation, sick/late policy, assignment completion process etc).

There are plenty of others.

In recruitment, especially in contingent agency recruitment, a small error can potentially mean a big loss of revenue.

Don’t let it happen to you, build templates, check lists and cheat sheets, and use them.


Related articles:

Defensive recruitment skills: overlooked and underrated

CV fraud on the march: What are you doing about it?

Ignorance is no excuse: Do you know the code?

Recruitment Database Crimes – Chapters 1 to 14

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Steve Wilson

To be honest it would be great if there was a place were we could share / swap our recruitment templates

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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